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DHR - SAFETY ALERT MEMO 98-05
DATE: December 21, 1998
INCIDENT TYPE: Serious Injury
LOCATION: District 8
TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Installing Tire Chains
THE ACCIDENT: On Tuesday February 17, 1998 at 14:00 a CT Equipment Operator (CEO) was installing tire chains on the front left wheel of a snow blower. A CT Heavy Equipment Mechanic (HEM) was running the rear engine of the snow blower to check for oil leaks. The CEO stepped in front of the left front tire with his back to a spinning jackshaft that powered the snow blower auger. As the CEO turned to back away from the tire, his coat sleeve came into contact with the flange at the end of the jackshaft. The CEO was pulled into the spinning shaft. The HEM was walking around the snow blower when he saw the CEO "bouncing around" in front of the tire. The HEM pulled the CEO away from the machine called for help and administered first aid. The CEO was airlifted to a local hospital where he underwent surgery to repair torn tendons and arteries. The HEM, Brian Kammer, will be awarded the Governors Medal of Valor for pulling the CEO from the rotating jackshaft and rendering aid.
CONCLUSIONS: The snow blower should have been shut down before the tire chains were installed. The CEO should have waited until the HEM had finished running the engine before he attempted to install the tire chains.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Any equipment should be shut down before any work is begun. Guards should be installed over any moving parts to protect from injury. (As a result of a Cal/OSHA investigation into this accident, guards have been installed on the exposed snow blower jackshafts.)
HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF SAFETY AND HEALTH (916) 227-2640